Learntrends: Convergence in Learning

These are my live blogged notes from the first LearnTrends session, Introduction: Convergence in Learning, with George Siemens, Tony Karrer, and Jay Cross. Awkward phrasing, typos, or things that simply don’t make sense out of the context of the live session are par for the course. My side comments are in italics. Update: The recording of this session (and the rest of LearnTrends) is now available.

Jay Cross

E-learning is 10 years old. Showed a graphic of e-learning companies that existed in 2000, then who’s still left now. Not many survivors.

Shift from Mechanical to Natural. Business ecosystem, learnscape.

“Golden Age of Training” 1945-2006: Training separate from work

Now, training is more in the context of work.

Future: Learning and work will be the same thing

Past: Teacher-centric. Worker-centric, focus on the individual. Social learning

Future will be group-centric, focus on the work group. Whole ecosystem of people who need to be involved.

We used to focus on novices, so lots of formal learning. What about people at different stages of their careers?


Convergence: a nice name for the mess we find ourselves in at a personal level and organizational level

Out of 150 participants, only 3 said they were under the age of 28

Asked those under 28 to identify pictures of card catalog and microfiche reader

Work and learning are changing–so many tools make it very messy

“For a concept worker…work and learning are inseparable”

Thomson Reuters Learning Methods–both formal and informal

When work and learning are inseparable?

  • What do we offer?
  • How do we work with other part of the org?
  • How to we work with concept workers without making things messier?

George Siemens

“Information finds us”

You learn one tool, then the next one comes at you just as you’re getting used to the first. Change is so rapid that it’s hard to even get a handle on what the nature of the change is.

Training was about finding the information you needed to do your job.

Diigo and other tools change your relationship to information–information increasingly finds us rather than us having to find it

“Every act of expression is a potential connection.”

When you have more information it isn’t the same. You name one cow, but not 1000 head of cattle.

Abundance of information and tools means we can’t just do the same stuff. Continually improving a candle doesn’t produce a lightbulb; something fundamental has to change.

“Continual change requires rapid learning and innovation for individuals and organizations.”

Networks are really good at spreading information–good or bad

Current L&D is mismatched to need & doesn’t scale


Virtual worlds?

Second Life is expensive and most orgs not ready for it yet. But other worlds are working well.

They provide another way to interact–different experience, different connection with people

Caspian Learning’s Thinking Worlds as one example, Proton Media is another

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